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Australia’s Top 50 Kids’ Books Revealed

October 3, 2019

Each year, Better Reading asks young readers and their families to vote for their favourite book and this time over 4,700 people passionately declared their love for a children’s book dear to their heart.

The results are finally in and we can now reveal there are some old favourites, some newcomers, and some award winners and anniversary titles that have stood the test of time. This year the list has made a move towards younger readers with many votes for a wide range of picture books. In response we have divided the list into the Top 25 for older readers and Top 25 for younger readers.

Coming in at #1 for older readers is once again Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling and #1 for younger readers is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Local authors Mem Fox and Aaron Blabey are in the Top 10 for younger readers with Mem Fox taking out two positions. We also see beloved local authors Nick Bland and Alison Lester making their mark.

Better Reading Director, Cheryl Akle says, ‘It’s clear there is a deep love for picture books. We saw this with the response our readers had at the time of the 50thanniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and 30th of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen this year. Our readers also shared their love for many new picture books and Australian picture books.’

However, it appears that older readers are completely won over by a good series particularly if fantastical or funny and Harry Potter, the Treehouse series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, WeirDo, Dog Man, Bad Guys and Alice Miranda amongst others have once again made an appearance on the list.  You can be assured they will tempt any reluctant reader.

Roald Dahl ruled the Top 10 in the older readers category with three titles voted favourites. Local writers Jacqueline Harvey and Jessica Townsend also made the Top 10 for older readers. New to the list are Whisper by Lynette Noni and Lenny’s Book of Everything– both Australian and award winning in the last 12 months.

The vote also revealed:

  • 20 Australian books made the list
  • 21 books have a female author
  • The most popular series is Harry Potter, closely followed by The Faraway Tree, Alice Miranda and the Treehouse series.
  • Australian children enjoy a diverse mix of literary and popular fiction and they particularly love a funny read


Akle initiated the annual Top 100 Better Reading poll in the hope that it would inspire Australians to read and give them some ideas for books they might like. Soon after she realised that the same is true for children’s books. This is the fourth year the poll has run.

“People are always telling me how hard it is to find the right book for a child in their life,” says Akle. “With so many wonderful new books hitting the shelves each month, making a decision can be overwhelming so this list is something you can take with you to the bookshop. When you give a book to a child you want to know it’s a book they’re going to love.”

Top 10 Young Readers at a glance. See the full list here.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
2. Possum Magic by Mem Fox
3. Grug by Ted Prior
4. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
5. Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
6. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
7. We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
8. Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland
9. Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
10. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson


Top 10 Older Readers at a glance. See the full list here.

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
2. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
5. The BFG by Roald Dahl
6. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
9. Alice-Miranda At School by Jacqueline Harvey
10. Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Thank you to all who voted, and a huge congratulations to our Top 50 winners! The following people will be receiving a copy of each title on the Top 50 list. Happy Reading!

Kylie Evans
Monrada Vongphakdi
Kylie Blewitt
Diane Haynes – Smith
Kylie Duncan
Kelly Nicholas
Allan Milnes

All winners have been contacted

Download the full Top 50 Kids’ Books 2019


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